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New nature reserve Smrekovica

A new protected area, Smrekovica was designated on 15 May 2012. Natural spruce forests, which have on most of the area character of the old growth forests, and that are home to many precious species of plants and animals, became strictly protected on the total area of 235ha.

FSC Slovakia elaborated protected area proposal in May 2010. FSC Slovakia did so during implementation of the project “Protection of Old growth forests in Slovakia” in 2009 and 2010 within of which   detailed mapping of Old growth forests in Slovakia was carried out. The mapping showed that old growth forests cover only 0, 5% of the Slovak forest area - a far less than it was originally anticipated. Smrekovica is one of the sites where a spruce old growth forest is preserved on the area of 168 ha.


The nature reserve Smrekovica is situeted on top of mountain Photo: Pavol Polak

However, genesis of this protected area was not easy at all. Despite of the fact, that Smrekovica forms part of the National Park Velka Fatra and NATURA 2000 network, only two years ago there were a great threats of logging on a vast area.  State Forests of the Slovak Republic commenced logging reasoning by “the necessity to fight bark beetle outbreak”. FSC Slovakia attempted to stop logging in the proposed protected area through extensive media and advocacy work.

We have initiated action to stop logging with the District office of Environment. We have issued a number of position papers and complaints. We have realized extensive media campaign seeking support among scientists and other environmental NGOs, and undertook other activities aiming to stop logging and ensure protection of this precious site. The case was dealt by police, prosecutors and is subject of the court proceedings. Finally, we have succeeded, and the site is now strictly protected, although approximately 7% of the area is significantly damaged” says Juraj Vysoky, executive director of FSC Slovakia.

Designation of the Protected Area Smrekovica will help to save many precious and threatened species of Carpathian flora and fauna. “Beside some quite common species of animals, here we can spot some rather precious ones; such as pygmy owl, boreal owl, three-toed woodpecker, or black woodpecker” says Marian Jasík, team member of FSC Slovakia.